On the Thursday programme of the public service television news channel M1, the Justice Minister described the procedure instituted against Hungary under Article 7 as a witch-hunt wrapped up in a legal gown.

According to Judit Varga, Hungary cites legal arguments in vain; the procedure was instituted on political grounds, and its conclusion, too, will require a political decision.

The Minister said if purely legal arguments were taken into consideration, the procedure could have been concluded a long time ago as Hungary has already stated its position several times both in writing and verbally.

This is a well-constructed campaign, “organisations sponsored by Open Society Foundations release opinions, they make cross-references to them, then turn them into reports, and make Member State representatives read those reports out,” Mrs Varga argued.

She added that at the hearing held on Tuesday in Brussels nothing new was stated; “in actual fact, no one was interested in our answers,” and in consequence, what is going on under the guise of a procedure instituted under Article 7 is beginning to turn into a farce.

She said at the meeting Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders made it clear that they do not want to close the procedure. They want to turn it into a never-ending story by incorporating issues into the procedure that were not even mentioned in the Sargentini report, the document that marked the beginning of the procedure.

Mrs Varga also found it objectionable that no one ever questions the fact that the Sargentini report was adopted in an irregular manner. “This is an interesting manifestation of double standards, that we are proceeding in the spirit of the rule of law, while European institutions are committing serial breaches during this procedure,” she said.

“It is becoming shocking” that there is no real dialogue on this matter, the Minister observed. Regarding the future, she said it is left to the wisdom of the next presidency to decide how this procedure will continue. Hungary has a vested interest in maintaining a fair dialogue with every presidency.